Learning From Apple, Part 1: Tutorials & Tips


Whether you’re new to the Mac or have been using one for some time, there’s usually always something new you can learn about it to make your workflow, personal projects, or fun time a little easier or more enjoyable. To that end, Apple makes plenty of resources available on their web site.

In part 1 of this I’ll look at what Apple makes available in the form of product tutorials and tips. In part 2 I’ll look at Apple’s resource listings and free online seminars.


Apple has a wealth of tutorials to make use of. Each tutorial is typically anywhere from a couple minutes to five minutes in length (longer for Pro apps), and presented in easily manageable snippets. 

First of all, you should check out Apple’s Find Out How page. By default you’ll be at the Mac Basics page; unless you’re a brand new Mac user this may of limited value. However, along the top you’ll see other categories that you can click on to see tutorials relating to Photos, Movies, the Web, etc. This page could be a “one-stop” site to find useful tutorials.

MobileMe users should check out tutorials here.  

There are also tutorials for almost all of Apple’s individual applications. For starters, check out those for the iLife suite that comes on all Macs. I found the ones for iMovie ’08 especially helpful when that product was introduced. 

Apple doesn’t restrict the product tutorials to the iLife suite. Their productivity suite is included as well, so if you’re an iWork user like me you should visit its tutorials page

And Apple doesn’t stop at their two product suites, either. Their professional apps have great tutorials, too. As an Aperture user I found its page of tutorials broad and useful. 

In addition, while not strictly tutorials, the Aperture In Action page has videos of professionals using the product that can provide great ideas for how you want to utilize it in your own workflow. 

You’ll also find a tutorial page for Final Cut Studio (and Final Cut Server). Each program in the suite has tutorials on the page. Don’t let the comparatively small number fool you. These tutorials are a bit longer than others. As with Aperture, there’s also a Final Cut Studio in Action page with quite a few usage tips from the Pros. 

Similar treatment is given to Logic Studio, and there’s a Logic in Action page as well. 

Finally, note that some of the tutorial pages also list text tutorials. These are written, step-by-step, instructions for specific tasks. I would encourage anyone to review these for any software package used regularly. 

For any of the above products you own, you may discover things about them you didn’t already know. If you don’t own any of them, but are considering its purchase and want to know more about it, you can get a good feel for how it works just by watching the tutorials. 


Apple has two primary tips sites. The Business Quick Tips page contains video tips updated weekly. Each is perhaps 30 seconds long, and I’ve found many useful ones there. Note that off to the right of that page you can find Quick Tours, which are pseudo-tutorial videos you may find useful. 

The Pro Tips page is a listing of dozens of quick tips in text format. Click a tip that interests you and see how it’s done. 

If you were to watch all of Apple’s available video tutorials, you’d be busy for many hours. The tips would keep you busy a long time, too. The point is that there’s likely something here for any Mac user, and it’s freely available 24/7. It’s worth taking advantage of.


Tom Reestman


I understand the point you’re making, but I think iTunes U falls outside the purview of my article, which focuses on the content Apple makes available for its own hardware, software and services.

Further, my understanding is that iTunes U is a service hosted by Apple and made available to universities for their content. Apple does not (and should not, in my opinion) try to judge the “quality” of that content. Your opinion of the “bad” content may or may not be valid, but in any case if it’s what the university uses — and therefore what their students are using — that’s their business.

As for the variability of content, I’m sure Apple is aware of it just as we’re all aware of the “variability of content” at various universities throughout the country.


I agree that Apple is doing something really useful here and its own training materials are usually excellent. However, as noted later, the same cannot be said for some of the content submitted to iTunes U, at least in the >Engineering>Computing sections.

However, given the steep learning curve on some of Apple’s Pro Software, they don’t go at all, or not far enough. I refer in the first case to the forgotten Web Objects software, which should have become iWeb Pro. This is a fine web dev tool used by serious heavyweights like Apple and the BBC. Why allow it to go undiscovered by the many? I also refer to Logic Studio and Final Cut Studio.

On a separate aspect of Apple’s learning resources, the quality of material on the iTunes U resource varies from the sublime (eg Stanford programming lectures) through the OK (Swinburne U) to the downright awful, insultingly careless and useless (check out Object oriented programming sessions and Utah U’s iPhone Programmers’ Association-the first is wholly useless and unintelligible while the Utah U’s video segments are unreadable). It speaks volumes about the staff at the university who posted the OO stuff that it is inaudible, unreadable and dreary in its staging. With the Utah U stuff, the video material looks as if it would have been truly useful but the coding views are unreadable. What a killer omission that rather trashes what might have been truly useful.

I doubt that Apple is aware of the variability of iTunes U content. They should hire a gatekeeper to weed out the insultingly bad stuff already on the site and to vet all future contributions.

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